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    #90483 - 12/03/10 10:39 AM Thoughts on Accelerated Math?
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    DS's teacher just implemented this in the classroom last week as her solution for differentiation. I'm unfamiliar with the program but see it's made by the Accelerated Reader people. I'm not a fan of AR and certainly not as a differentiation tool.

    Does anyone have a kid using it that can explain how it works to me? The teacher explained that they use a scanner to put in their scan-tron answers but didn't really know how it would let the kids actually work at their individual level.

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    #90706 - 12/07/10 11:35 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    I wish I had first hand experience to help here - did you check out

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Math
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #90712 - 12/07/10 12:25 PM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    I've never seen this website before, but it looks interesting -
    http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/middle_math/accel_math/
    _________________________
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    #90716 - 12/07/10 01:40 PM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    Thanks Grinity- I hadn't seen the ed.gov site. I had seen the wikipedia site and a few other websites but nothing looks definitive. I couldn't find a single thing about using it with a gifted population as opposed to remediation.

    Silly me, I heard "accelerated" and got excited.

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    #90725 - 12/07/10 03:07 PM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: CAMom
    Silly me, I heard "accelerated" and got excited.

    I did too. I certianly is possible that a self-paced program would be a good match for your dd.
    Best wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #90726 - 12/07/10 03:10 PM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    He's doing ALEKS at school now +2 grade levels, but she's trying this new program out and wants him to stop doing ALEKS in the meantime. He will be doing Accelerated Math with other kids so that's a bonus, but I'm not totally convinced yet that this is actually a like substitution!

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    #90748 - 12/08/10 04:10 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    We used ALEKS 7 years ago. It was great at diagnostic, and for assesment and for leading us through a Math curriculum, but if the kid didn't understand where the mistake was, I had to teach him myself, and ususally search around the internet for 'homework help.com' or some other tutorial. I hope that has changed in the last 7 years...
    _________________________
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    #90752 - 12/08/10 05:30 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    treecritter Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/10
    Posts: 111
    My son recently started using accelerated math as well. I'm not a fan of the AR program, but I do think they did a much better job with the math program. It's not perfect, by any stretch. And you have to work through the fundamental stuff before getting to the advanced stuff (which bored DS to tears). But once you wade through the BS, it's not a bad program. As a former math teacher, I have minor issues with the way they present some of the material. I think the way it is taught may make it more difficult to use that knowledge when they get into higher math classes. But as I said, they are MINOR concerns. I spent a little bit of time discussing it with my son, but it wasn't enough to make me go to the school and throw a tantrum (again).
    Basically, they have objectives to master before they can move on to the next set. It starts out with fundamentals, such as counting and recognizing numbers. Then it slowly builds up. As soon as you master one level, you can move on to the next one - so you can move as quickly or as slowly as you like. I also like that it fills in any gaps in the child's math background. For example, my son could do three digit addition and subtraction with regrouping, and was in the process of learning multiplication - but what I didn't realize is that if you asked him to write the number forty-eight, he would write 408. It never occurred to me to go over that with him, but he figured it out within a couple of days on this program.
    As I said, it's not perfect. But it's a heck of a lot better than sitting there with the rest of the class counting dots during their math time.

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    #90753 - 12/08/10 05:34 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    JBDad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/15/08
    Posts: 639
    Loc: Phila 'burbs
    That's our current issue with ALEKS right now: it's not really a teaching curriculum. I was hoping it'd be closer to a traditional online LMS where you're first presented with a lesson and then take the assessment. It seems like that component is missing. (Of course it might be that the course assumes that instruction is happening outside of ALEKS). There is a way to get an explanation for a missed item, but it's still just presented in the format of a bunch of test questions. Thankfully this is only part of accommodations this year.

    JB

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    #90758 - 12/08/10 06:54 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    So far he's done well using the ALEKS dictionary and the "Explain" button. I have pretaught him a couple of things that I knew he'd need a different explanation for but it gave him something to do at school. I also have covered a few things at home with him completely, then he does the review at school. I think this has been easier because he hasn't reached any truly new material for him yet- it's all building on something he already knows. So if you know long division, it's an easy step to long division with decimals, if that makes sense.

    Treecritter- your "Then it slowly builds up" comment concerns me. How slowly? Is there a way to test out of material or do you have to cover each lesson no matter what?


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    #90762 - 12/08/10 07:11 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: CAMom
    Treecritter- your "Then it slowly builds up" comment concerns me. How slowly? Is there a way to test out of material or do you have to cover each lesson no matter what?

    This seems like the key issue. And like the 408 example, it's hard for a computer to know when a kid has picked up a weird idiosyncratic idea, and my kid has picked up a few along the way. In fact I think being precosious makes one more vulnerable to the having weird mistakes because of the asynchrony. Of course it isn't easy for a human to spot these odd ideas either.

    I remember complaints about my handwriting during 1st grade, leading to me sitting down with one of my mom's friends to check me. She observed for a while and finally asked me why this 8 here was so much taller than the 4 over there.
    I replied: "Everyone knows that - it's because 8 is twice as large as 4."
    She explained the convention of all numbers being equally tall. I think she even asked me how big 497 would be written in my system so I could see how impractical that would be!

    Hence my maxim: Logical isn't the same as workable!

    Interestingly - AR Math, according to the website, doesn't claim to actually teach kids either - only to diagnose, provide practice and accredit. There is lots written about teachers indroducing concepts to the whole class, and working in small group and individually as needed. It is said to 'work with any textbook' which should tell us something about how similar every approach to math is in elementary school. Apparently it's more something to be practiced than understood.

    For better or for worse, there isn't much in elementary school Math that can't be figured out on one's own. So another question becomes - how high does the AR Math go? What is planned if your son 'finishes?'

    Love and More Love,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #90764 - 12/08/10 07:15 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    So another question becomes - how high does the AR Math go? What is planned if your son 'finishes?'

    Right now- there is no plan. The teacher doesn't really understand the Accelerated Math program and is dreadful (actually, disinterested) at differentiation. I've been pushing for an actual plan but haven't gotten one yet.... administrative run-around in a very complicated political situation. It's a charter school in a district about 2 days from being taken over by the state. We've gotten a bit of a "take it or leave it" attitude from them lately since they will be unaffected by the state takeover.

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    #90774 - 12/08/10 08:39 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    treecritter Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/10
    Posts: 111
    CAMom - I can't tell you, to be honest. My son is in first grade, so he's kind of starting from scratch. Each section is thoroughly covered, but if he already knows it well I think he'll be able to whiz through it pretty quickly. As far as testing out, you are assumed to have mastered a topic when you pass the test on it - so I suppose if he wants to breeze through the first few tests, he probably can. Depending on what the teacher will allow him to do. My son's teacher wanted him to take his time at first, but now she pretty much lets him work at his own pace.

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    #90793 - 12/08/10 10:30 AM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: CAMom
    We've gotten a bit of a "take it or leave it" attitude from them lately since they will be unaffected by the state takeover.

    Ug! I hate to say it, but this doesn't seem like the hill you want to die on, although I don't think I would nescessarily comply with the request to stop ALEKS at home. It is working with your kid and the teacher isn't working with you. AR Math is a self-paced program, so that's good, but you can't rely on this teacher to use it well or actually teach him anything. Maybe a 'you do your thing at school and I'll do my thing at home' attitude is the best for now. I would expect some complaining at the begining of AR Math, and some polite questions to the teacher to be sure she is running it at top possible speed.

    Bottom Line: It is your business what she does with your child at school, but it's not her business what you teach your child at home. As long as you are encouraging your child to behave in the classroom, you have fufilled you obligation. If the shoe were on the other foot, can you imagine asking a parent to stop an educational intervention at home that was working?

    ((shrugs))
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #90819 - 12/08/10 01:48 PM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    CAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/13/08
    Posts: 748
    Grinity- you are so right, this is NOT the hill to die on! Mostly, I am trying to understand Accelerated Math so I can ask educated questions. I've learned a lot from our discussion and lots of googling. While I do not think this is an acceptable substitute for proper differentiation, she's at least trying something at this point.

    We'll keep doing our thing and bide our time while she figures out the new program and whether or not it will actually help her.

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    #90823 - 12/08/10 03:02 PM Re: Thoughts on Accelerated Math? [Re: CAMom]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    ((thumbs up))
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    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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